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The Margetson Demos
Big Boy Pete
2004. Gear Fab Records CD
1. Nothingness Minus the Fun
2. Baby, Get Some of That
3. Silhouette
4. Cell Soliloquy
5. My Love is Like a Spaceship
6. Little Men
7. Penthouse
8. If Flowers Please your Hair
9. Invalid Of Love
10. Funny World
11. Henry Nut (Part 3)
12. Sitting In The Sun
13. The Painter
14. Boogaloo
15. Watch Your Step
16. Charactor Actors
17. Love Is Proud
19. For Love of Thee
20. Who in The Heck D'ya Think You Are?
21. It's Over
22. The Sound of Automation
23. L.S.D.
Musicians:
Guitars, Basses, Sitar, Harmonica, Synthesizer: Pete Miller.
Percussion: Granville Hornsby
Drums: Luke Watson and Robert Newton

All tracks engineered and produced by Pete Miller
at his Margetson Avenue studio in Norwich, England. (1965-66).

Multi-tracked on a Bang and Olufsen Beocord 2000 taperecorder.

 

The Lance Monthly - May 2004

Big Boy Pete "The Margetson Demos" (Gear Fab Records). Sounding like Buddy Holly on psychedelics, Big Boy Pete sings edgy little pop rock delights sliced of strummy guitars and spiky hooks. By the time Big Boy Pete (aka Pete Miller) launched a solo career as a songwriter, he had already gained the reputation as a well-respected musician amid England's bustling pop playground of the sixties. Armed with a resume that involved stints with The Offbeats, Peter Jay and The Jaywalkers, and The News, he arguably made his mark and was no novice when it came to the ins and outs of the business.

Starting in 1966, right through the end of the decade, Big Boy Pete recorded literally hundreds of tunes at his home studio in Norwich. Recent years have witnessed many of these tapes being transferred to CD, and the latest packet of such randy dandy revelations is "The Margetson Demos." As Big Boy Pete comments in the accompanying liner notes, these tracks were never intended for commercial release and were merely preliminary stages before the actual masters were recorded. He apologizes for the less than stellar quality of some of the material, emphasizing how he attempted to get the inspiration down as fast as possible or else the original feel and idea of the song would evaporate and be gone forever. But if you ask me, "The Margetson Demos" passes the audition with flying colors.

Sounding like Buddy Holly on psychedelics, Big Boy Pete sings edgy little pop rock delights sliced of strummy guitars and spiky hooks. He also has a keen ear for detail, and his lyrics are frequently picturesque and eccentric." If Flowers Please Your Hair," "Nothingness Minus the Fun," "Who in the Heck Do You Think You Are?" and "Character Actors" specifically accent Big Boy Pete's talent for crafting songs that are deceptively simple and direct. The only cut on The Margetson Demos that materialized on vinyl is the wiggy, Syd Barrett meets Frank Zappa styled "My Love Is Like A Spaceship," which cropped up on the flipside of Big Boy Pete's heralded "Cold Turkey" single. www.swiftsite.com/gearfab

By Beverly Paterson:

Eastern Evening News - July 20th. 2004
A new CD just released in America is named after a Norwich road - once home to one of the pioneers of rock 'n' roll in the city.

His name is Pete Miller and the road is Margetson Avenue, Thorpe St. Andrew, where he lived for the first 25 years of his life and created his first recording studio. Nowadays Pete is better known as "Big Boy Pete" of San Francisco.

The interest in his early music has resulted in Pete being asked to release some of those first tapes and The Margetson Demos contains 23 previously unheard tracks recorded between 1966 and 1968. "Please forgive the tape hiss, unpolished arrangements, out-of-tune vocals and lack of drums on some of these tracks. These demos were never intended for commercial release," writes Pete on the sleeve.

One that is intended for commercial release, and will be a treat for all fans of the Evening News Golden Years, is an album that Pete is currently remixing at his home in the U.S.A.

"It's one I have recorded with the original Offbeats, and due to the amount of intercontinental travelling, it has been ten years in the making," said Pete.

"This is going to be very Norfolk. All original compositions. We have even done our version of the Canaries' anthem. In view of the club's championship, seems entirely appropraite," he added.

Norwich born and bred, Pete - a pupil of Norwich School - was a teenager in the fifties when he saw an early Chuck Berry film."I saw him duck-walk and it was all over. 'Sorry mum, sorry dad. I'm not going to be that doctor you wanted," said Pete.

He teamed up with young friends Dave Wilson, Mike Lorenz, Tony Woods and Luke Watson and they became The Offbeats - now playing again thanks to The Golden Years, and back on the road. Ace guitarist Pete went on to play lead guitar with the biggest Norfolk group around. Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers touring with the likes of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

He tired of touring and came back to Norwich to write hundreds of songs.

He later joine the Norwich band, The News - a spin-off from The Continentals - and toured the Far East before heading for San Francisco where he has lived since the 1970s. - Derek James.

The Margetson Demos is availbale from Gear Fab Records, PO Box 780639, Orlando, FL 32878. email: GearFabRecords @aol.com

AllMusic Review by Stanton Swihart - July 2005
Though he has not yet become a household name -- perhaps because he never spent time in an asylum, homeless shelter, or halfway house and because he actively continued to make and promote his music -- Pete Miller's body of work deserves the same sort of devoted coterie of enthusiasts as other great eccentric acid mavericks like Syd Barrett, Roky Erickson, and Skip Spence. The Margetson Demos is still more evidence of Big Boy Pete's incomparable, fascinatingly bizarre vision. And his was no cheeky "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" punnery but the real "L.S.D." deal. The compilation features just what the title says: 23 unpolished demo recordings made by Miller alone at his home studio on Margetson Avenue on the outskirts of Norwich between the Technicolor years of 1966 and 1968, and released here for the first time. Miller himself confesses that many of these songs, to say nothing of the rough-hewn recordings and performances, are unfinished. Still, some of them are raw, inspired pop-psych lunacy of the best sort, including an inspired one-two-three commencement: "Nothingness Minus the Fun," "Baby, Get Some of That," and "Silhouette," the last with the opening riff of the Turtles' "Happy Together" apparently dancing in its head. The awesomely creepy "My Love Is Like a Spaceship," which eventually found its way onto the flip side of the classic "Cold Turkey," is here in its primitive form, and "The Painter" and "Charactor Actors" are also magnificent, even as half doses. It's not surprising that the songs strongest on tune are the most successful in this stripped-down state, while the ones heavier on mood -- dirges, drones, and soundscapes that would undoubtedly blossom with fuller, more sympathetic productions -- are less so. Even the lesser demos, though, retain the distinctive, unmistakable Big Boy Pete stamp. In his liner notes, Miller suggests that an enterprising artist might be interested in taking a crack at completing one or more of these tunes. It would need to be a remarkable artist.


 

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